“We can help reduce air pollution, even if we are still kids” – Lorraine, The Yucky Duck Rescue, p. 32.
|Creator(s)||Lynda Beauregard (writer), German Torres (illustrator), Pat Barrett (coloring), Grace Lu (lettering)|
|Environmental Themes and Issues||Animal Rescue, Animals in Danger, Environmental Activism, Plastics, Pollution|
|Protagonist’s Identity||Multiracial of child characters. 3 boys and 4 girls|
|Protagonist’s Level of Environmental Agency||Level 5: High Environmental Agency and Activism|
|Target Audience||Children (Grades 3 to 6)|
|Settings||The fictional Camp Dakota|
The Yucky Duck Rescue is the eighth installment in the Summer Camp Science Mysteries series, and the only volume published so far that explicitly addresses environmental issues. As the series title suggests, the books center on a group of young children who solve mysteries at their summer camp. While visiting the lake, the campers discover a duck snared in plastic beverage rings and algae congealing on the surface of the water. Determined to find the source of the pollution, the campers and their two adult leaders set off on a hike along a creek feeding into the lake. They discover three different sources of pollution: a trash-strewn campsite with no garbage cans, acid rain, and a farm that has unintentionally leaked fertilizer into the stream.
At the site of each discovery, the children and the adults work together to address the source of the pollution, modeling different forms of environmental activism that child readers can engage in. At the campsite, all of the characters clean up the trash, and the children persuade the campsite owner to purchase trash cans to prevent additional litter from accumulating. When the group encounters trees damaged by acid rain, they vow to implement simple steps to reduce air pollution, such as biking and turning off electronics when they aren’t in use. Finally, at the farm, the children help the farmer to plant bushes and flowers that will prevent the creek banks from eroding further and carrying fertilizer into the lake. Throughout the comic, the creators insert definitions of environmental terms that young readers may not be familiar with.
A one-page note at the beginning of the comic defines the three main types of pollution: water, air, and soil. After the primary narrative, the backmatter includes instructions for two experiments that children can conduct: a “garbage bag ball and chain” experiment to measure how much trash the reader produces in one day, and an experiment that uses vinegar and clumps of grass to simulate acid rain. The backmatter also includes a “Mysterious Words” glossary of environmental terms and a short list of additional facts about pollution.